Two weeks later, Pence's virus boasts take an unfortunate turn

Two weeks ago today, Pence wrote an op-ed bragging about U.S. progress on the coronavirus. Two weeks later, it really doesn't hold up well.
Image: Donald Trump
Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 19, 2020.Patrick Semansky / AP file

Two weeks ago today, amidst widespread concerns about coronavirus data in the U.S. that didn't appear to be improving, Vice President Mike Pence wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. The message was simple: thanks to Donald Trump, "we are winning the fight against the invisible enemy."

It's worth pausing to reflect on the Indiana Republican's boasts -- because they don't appear to be holding up well.

"While talk of an increase in cases dominates cable news coverage, more than half of states are actually seeing cases decline or remain stable."

As of today, according to the New York Times' latest data-visualization report, most states are seeing increases in their coronavirus cases.

"Cases have stabilized over the past two weeks, with the daily average case rate across the U.S. dropping to 20,000 -- down from 30,000 in April and 25,000 in May."

The latest data shows a daily average of 40,000 new cases per day -- roughly double the numbers the vice president bragged about two weeks ago.

The truth is that we've made great progress over the past four months, and it's a testament to the leadership of President Trump.

Donald Trump isn't even trying to lead, and evidence of "great" national progress is hard to find.

Our administration launched a partnership with private industry.... Part of this effort, Project Air Bridge, has conducted more than 200 flights bringing equipment from overseas.

According to FEMA, the Project Air Bridge figures have been wildly exaggerated: "The total number of those supplies is about 7% -- or one-thirteenth -- of the numbers cited in Mr. Pence's article."

The media has tried to scare the American people every step of the way, and these grim predictions of a second wave are no different.

The first wave never really ended. The problem is not with media coverage; it's with an administration that's failed to respond responsibly to a public-health crisis.

To be sure, Pence, who leads the White House's Coronavirus Taskforce, has made plenty of other claims that proved to be completely wrong. What's more, I'm just highlighting some of the more egregious errors of fact from his WSJ piece, skipping over some other dubious assertions.

Given the current conditions, the vice president probably wishes he'd never sent that op-ed for publication.